Free doco

Written By: - Date published: 9:59 pm, February 17th, 2009 - 13 comments
Categories: International - Tags: , , , ,

There’s been a lot of talk over the last couple of days on Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and the controversial referendum on removing the two-term limit on standing for re-election.

As it happens I recently discovered John Pilger’s recent documentary The War on Democracy is now available for free on Google Video. Granted, Pilger’s a dick, but the film’s definitely worth a look if you’re interested in finding out more about what’s going on in Venezuela, and across Latin America in general.

13 comments on “Free doco”

  1. Byron 1

    Good to see this doco being shown to a wider audience. I’m still waiting for the headline “Chavez gets the same rights as John Key” (both will continue to lead countries as long as people keep electing them) the talk of dictatorship in some of the MSM is ridiculous

  2. Dictatorship it isn’t, authoritarian it is. Human Rights Watch says so here:

    “Chávez and his allies have effectively neutralized the judiciary. While some newspapers and broadcasters are still independent and some are outspoken in their opposition to Chávez, the President and his legislative supporters have strengthened the state’s capacity to limit free speech and created powerful incentives for self-censorship. They have, for example, expanded laws making “contempt” for government officials a criminal offense, increased prison sentences for criminal defamation, and abused the state’s control of broadcasting frequencies to intimidate and discriminate against stations with overtly critical programming. While there are independent labor unions, the government has systematically violated workers’ rights and fostered pro-government unions. There are dedicated human rights advocates. But they have been subjected to a virulent barrage of verbal assaults and even harassment by prosecutors.”

    It’s a worrying trend that anyone with a liberal bent should resist – even if Ken Livingstone thinks all is well.

  3. Pascal's bookie 3

    “Dictatorship it isn’t, authoritarian it is”

    I suspect Jeane Kirkpatrick, and consequently the Reagan administration, would have disagreed, but I don’t.

    That’s South American politics for ya. It seems that if they’re not nationalising the kleptocrats, they’re throwing ‘people who have gone missing’ out of helicopters.

    I blame Catholicism. And the US does. not. help.

  4. Uh Tane,

    Why do you think John Pilger is a dick? (Honest question, I happen to think that he is one of the few who actually get’s through the MSM wall of silence but I’m curious as to how you reached this opinion.)

    To the thread the following: I’m not in favour of Dictatorships or authoritarian governments but I have even more problems with governments who pretend to be democratic while in reality they are a Kleptocratic, Oligargic, Elitist and the election is used to manipulate a mandate for stealing and robbing the general population and the populations of other countries through the machinations of the media owned by the same elite.

    For the longest time the US and the English ruling elites have been robbing, scamming, murdering and suppressing the rest of the planet (and no I’m not saying they are the only ones doing that) and Venezuela was one of those countries.

    The system that preceded him was rigged in favour of International (read US and English owned) multinationals and the ruling elite was bought and paid for by said internationals.

    Chavez has been allowed by the majority of the population (in fact a CIA led coup against him had to be called off because of the uprising of the Venezuelan population) to rule and they have voted to be able to keep him in power longer.

    So far Chavez has not turned against the people who support him and whatever cash flow there is goes into infrastructure, education and job creation. At this moment I have more sympathy for Chavez and his populist ways but working very much in favour of the local lower class population than the sleazy “Urgency” Kleptocratic, Oligargic, elitist behaviour of our own corporately owned government.

  5. ryallsghost 5

    I blame power mad dictators.

  6. Josh On 6

    “Granted, Pilger’s a dick, …”

    Pilger is one of the best representatives of our side in a long time. He has dedicated his life to exposing the wrongs of empire in accessible ways without being patronizing. He has embarrassed the ruling classes on every continent where there is one. See his interview with Michael Bolton as an example – yet I doubt even Bolton would have called him a dick. C’mon.

  7. burt 7

    I guess Venezuela won’t be repealing their electoral finance ACT, the one Labour modelled their one on.

  8. The notion that the Chavez regime is morally equivalent or better than ANY government in New Zealand’s recent history is laughable. If Chavez was running a Clement Atlee or Michael Joseph Savage style of socialism it would at least be within the context of an open liberal democracy, but he’s not, he’s straddling between that and an overtly one-party totalitarian dictatorship like Cuba.

    The longer the left turn a blind eye to the “boiling frog” manner Chavez is eroding civil liberties, dissent and politicising the judicial system, the more in disrepute it will be. Venezuela has a sad history, but it doesn’t defend the likes of this thieving maniac who cuddles up to fellow thieving maniacs like Putin, murdering homophobic bigots like Ahmadinejad and Mugabe (guess him selling cheap out to Zimbabwe is ok right?

    Transparency International ranks Venezuela 2nd worst in Latin America after Haiti, which is saying something. The UN said Venezuela has the highest rate of deaths by gunfire per capita of any country.

    However he is anti-American, and that makes a bunch of ideologically blinkered kiwis feel better.

  9. Bill 9


    The HRW Report you refer to is a scurrilous and thoroughly discredited piece of b.s.

    If your interested, here are some of the challenges to and questions raised over the report

    The Council on Hemispheric Affairs…

    A summary with a link to a 23 age analysis here….

    A letter sent directly to Roth and the directors with links to background correspondence here…

    I suspect you wont even bother to dip into these. Anyway…

  10. Matthew Pilott 10

    However he is anti-American, and that makes a bunch of ideologically blinkered kiwis feel better.

    What was it that made you shoot your own argument in the gut with the last sentence?

    You accuse those who tolerate Chavez of doing so because in your own narrow and blinkered world, the only act you can see that might be good, according to your own shallow, blinkered view of the Left, is that he doesn’t like America.

    You’d have to be very ideologically blinkered to make that statement, kiwi or otherwise.

  11. Tane 11

    Travellerev, etc. It’s Pilger’s style, and his condescending and patronising tone that I object to. No disrespect for the good work he does.

  12. henry olongo 12

    Who is Tane?
    John Pilger has mana boy. Show some respect you chump. This guy sounds forthright & emotive because he cares & realises the moral imperative inherent in investigative journalism. I love the way he thumbs his nose at corporate media conventions and challenges their lies. You need to read ‘The Model Pupil’. Wise up.

  13. I don’t give a damn whether Chavez likes the USA or not. I do give a damn for an independent judiciary, an unharassed press, A country that Reporters Without Borders ranks as 113th is a concern.

    Like I said, if Venezuela wants to elect some mad leftwing socialist liberal democratic government to tax, spend and regulate its way to stagnation – like Argentina did so well from the 1940s to the 1970s – so be it. However, for anyone who claims to be liberal to not want to keep a watch on Venezuela shows how shallow concern about autocracy is. Venezuela deserves better than a bully with a personality cult complex who has taken over the courts, and has an increasingly bankrupt economy.

    Latin America’s greatest problems have been corrupt governments, willing to use the state as their apparatus to gift favours and hold onto power. Ironically the only country that is looking head and shoulders above the rest now is Chile, which thankfully has built a relatively free and open civil government following the authoritarian years of Pinochet.

    My astonishment is how sadly some on the left are willing to dismiss concerns about human rights, corruption and growing autocracy because Chavez is a socialist – it is a shadow of the despicably sycophancy that thousands applied to the Soviet Union, Maoist China and even today Cuba, treating reports of executions, tortures and starvation as besides the point.

    Venezuela is worrying, after all anyone cozying up to butchers like Mugabe, Ahmadinejad and Castro is hardly a friend of democracy. Or is he just applying realpolitik, like the US in the Cold War, which of course, the left always criticised (and in most cases correctly).

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